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which, when they lay it to rot upon the field, gives them a better crop than those of the Highlunds. They heap sea-shells upon the dunghill, which in time moulder into a fertilising substance. When they find a vein of earth where they cannot use it, they dig it up, and add it to the mould of a more commodious place....
Their corn grounds often lie in such intricacies among the crags, that there is no room for the action of a team and plough. The soil is then turned up by manual labour, with an instrument called a crooked spade, of a form and weight which to me appeared very incommodious, and would perhaps be soon improved in a country where workmen could be easily found and easily paid. It has a narrow blade of iron fixed to a long and heavy piece of wood, which must have, about a foot and a half above the iron, a knee or flexure with the angle downwards. When the farmer encounters a stone, which is the great impediment of his operations, he drives the blade under it, and bringing the knee or angle to the ground, has in the long handle a very forcible lever.
According to the different mode of tillage, farms are distinguished into long land and short land. Long land is that which affords room for a piouging and short land is turned up by the spade.
The grain which they commit to the furrows thus tediously formed, is either oats or barley. They do not sow barley without very copious manure, and then they expect from it ten for one, an increase equal to that of better countries; but the culture is so operose that they content themselves commonly with oats; and who can relate without compassion, that after all their diligence they are to expect only a triple increase? It is in vain to hope for plenty, when a third part of the harvest must be reserved for seed."
When their grain is arrived at the state which they must consider as ripeness, they do not cut, but pull the barley: to the oats they apply the sickle. Wheel carriages they have none, but make a frame of timber which is drawn by one horse with the two points behind pressing on the ground. On this they sometimes drag home their sheaves, but often convey them home in a kind of open pannier, or frame of sticks upon the horse's back.
Of that which is obtained with so much difficulty, nothing surely ought to be wasted; yet their method of clearing their oats from the husk is by parching them in the straw. Thus with the genuine improvidence of savages, they destroy that fodder for want of which their cattle may perish. From this practice they have two petty conveniences : they dry the grain so that it is easily reduced to meal, and they escape the theft of the thresher. The taste contracted from the fire by the oats, as by every other scorched substance, use must long ago have made grateful. The oats that are not parched must be dried in a kiln.
The barns of Sky I never saw. That which Macleod of Raasay had arcciců near his house was so contrived, because the harvest is seldom brought home dry, as by perpetual perflation to prevent the mow from heating.
Oftheir gardens I can judge only from their tables, I did not observe that the common greens were wanting, and suppose, that by choosing an advantageous exposition, they can raise all the more hardy esculant plants. Of vegetable fragrance or beauty they are not yet studious. Few vows are made to Flora in the Hebrides.
They gather a little hay, but the grass is mown late; and is so often almost dry and again very wet, before it is housed, that it becomes a collection of withered stalks without taste or fragrance; it must be eaten by cattle that have nothing else, but by most English farmers would be thrown away.
In the islands I have not heard that any subterrane, ous treasures have been discovered, though where there are mountains, there are commonly minerals. One of the rocks in Col has a black vein, imagined to consist of the ore of lead ; but it was never yet opened or essayed. In Sky a black mass was accidentally picked up, and brought into the house of the owner of the land, who found himself strongly inclined to think it a coal, but unhappily it did not burn in the chimney. Common ores would be here of no great value; for what requires to be separated by fire, must, if it were found, be carried away in its mineral state, here being no fuel for the smelting-house or forge. Perhaps by diligent search in this world of stone, some valuable species of marble might be discovered. But neither philosophical curiosity, nor commercial industry have yet fixed their abode here, where the impor. tunity of immediate want, supplied but for the day, and craving on the morrow, has left little room for ex. cursive knowledge, or the pleasing fancies of distant profit.
They have lately found a manufacture considerably lucrative. Their rocks abound with kelp, a sea-plant, of which the ashes are melted into glass. They burn kelp in great quantities, and then send it away in ships, which come regularly to purchase it. This new source of riches has raised the rents of many maratime farms; but the tenants pay, like all other tenants, the addition-al rent with great unwillingness; because they consider the profits of the kelp as the mere product of personal, labour, to which the landlord. contributes, nothing.. However, as any man may be said to give what he:
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gives the power of gaining, he has certainly as much right to profit from the price of kelp as of any thing else found or raised upon his ground.
This new trade has excited a long and eager litigation between Macdonald and Macleod, for a ledge of locks, which, till the value of kelp was known, neither of them desired the reputation of possessing.
The cattle of Sky are not so small as is commonly believed. Since they have sent their beeves in great numbers to southern marts, they have probably taken more care of their breed. At stated times the annual growth of cattle is driven to a fair, by a general drover, and with the money, which he returns to the farmer, the rents are paid.
The price regularly expected, is from two to three pounds a head : there was once one sold for five pounds. They go from the islands very lean, and are not offered to the butcher till they have been long fatted in English pastures.
Of their black cattle some are without horns, called by the Scots, humble cows, as we call a bee an humble bee, that wants a sting. Whether this difference be. specific, or accidental, though we inquired with great diligence, we could not be informed. We are not very sure that the bull is ever without horns, though we have been told that such bulls there are. What is produced by putting a horned and unhorned male and female together, no man has ever tried that thought the result worthy of observation.
Their horses are, like their cows, of a moderate size. I had no difficulty to mount myself commodiously by the favour of the gentlemen. I heard of very little cows in Barra, and very little horses in Rum, where perhaps no care is taken to prevent that dimimution of size, which must always happen where the greater and the less copulate promiscuously, and the young animal is restrained from growth by penury of sustenance.
The goat is the general inhabitant of the earth, complying with every difference of climate and of soil. The goats of the Hebrides are like others : nor did I hear any thing of their sheep to be particularly remarked.
In the penury of these malignant regions, nothing is left that can be converted to food. The goats and the sheep are milked like the cows. A single mealof a goat is a quart, and of a sheep a pint. Such at least was the account which I could extract from those of whom I am not sure that they ever had inquired.
The milk of goats is much thinner than that of cows, and that of sheep is much thicker. Sheep's milk is never eaten before it is boiled; as it is thick, it must be very liberal of curd, and the people of St. Kilda form it into small cheeses.
The stags of the mountains are less than those of our parks or forests, perhaps not bigger than our fallow deer. Their flosh has no rankness, nor is inferior in flavour to our common venison. The roebuck I neither saw nor tasted. These are not countries for a regular chase. The deer are not driven with horns and hounds. A sportsman, with his gun in his hand, watches the animal, and when he has wounded him, traces him by the blood.
They have a race of brinded greyhounds larger and stronger than those with which we course hares, and those are the only dogs used by them for the chase.
Man is by the use of firearms made so much an overmatch for other animals, that in all countries, where they are in use, the wild part of the creation sensibly diminishes. There will probably not be long either